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Miss Scarlet and the Duke star Stuart Martin quits lead role as show renamed for season 5

The series has been retitled 'Miss Scarlett'

Stuart Martin as William 'The Duke' Wellington and Kate Phillips as Eliza Scarlet in Miss Scarlet and The Duke
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
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Masterpiece has made a huge cast change to its popular drama, Miss Scarlet and the Duke, which will be returning for a fifth season. 

While Kate Phillips will return as Miss Eliza Scarlet, Stuart Martin will not be reprising his role as William 'The Duke' Wellington and the series will be retitled as 'Miss Scarlet'. 

Stuart Martin as William Wellington (The Duke) in Miss Scarlet and The Duke
© Sever Zolak/Masterpiece
Stuart Martin is stepping down from his role as William Wellington 'The Duke' in Miss Scarlet and The Duke

On his exit from the show, Stuart, who has starred in the previous four seasons, said: "It has been such an incredible joy to bring Duke to life through Rachael's beautiful, brilliant writing, and to get to play him for the past four years. 

"But it felt like the time was right for Scarlet to explore new stories and challenges for now, as the show continues to grow and evolve. I will miss working with my amazing partner in crime Kate and the rest of our brilliant family and team, but I'm excited to continue following Eliza and her escapades as a huge fan and newly enrolled Scarleteer!"

Kate added: "I will miss working with my pal Stu every day, and know Eliza will miss her Duke, but I think the best is yet to come for her. I can't wait for fans to see what we have in store for Season 5."

Kate Phillips as Miss Scarlet in Miss Scarlet and The Duke© Masterpiece
Kate Phillips will reprise her role as Miss Scarlet in season five

While Stuart won't be returning to the show, other familiar faces will be reprising their roles, including Evan McCabe as Detective Fitzroy, Cathy Belton as Ivy, Felix Scott as Patrick Nash, Paul Bazely as Clarence, Simon Ludders as Mr. Potts, and Tim Chipping as Detective Phelps. 

Taking to social media, fans couldn't help but express their disappointment at the news. One person penned: "This is a huge mistake! Eliza & William's chemistry was what made the show special."

Other fans were excited by the renewal news, however, with one person writing: "Thank you for being upfront and honest—that's commendable and respectful to your fanbase when TOO MANY networks are not. I am here for Scarlet and can't wait for Season 5!"

Kate Phillips as Miss Scarlet and Stuart Martin as William Wellington (The Duke) in Miss Scarlet and The Duke© Sever Zolak/Masterpiece
The show will return with a new title, 'Miss Scarlet'

Commenting on Stuart's departure, series creator Rachael New said: "We will miss our Duke but there is so much in store for Eliza – new crimes, new friends, new foes and new romance. We will be keeping her very busy!"

Meanwhile, Masterpiece Executive Producer Susanne Simpson added: "This new chapter in Eliza's story is going to bring our audience more of what they've come to love about this series – mystery, humor, potential romance and most of all, Kate Phillips' terrific performance as Miss Scarlet."

miss scarlet s2© PBS
Stuart starred in the previous four seasons

Fans will be pleased to know that filming for season five is underway in Belgrade, Serbia, with additional casting to be announced in due course. 

For those unfamiliar with the mystery series, it's set in 1882 Victorian London and follows Eliza Scarlet, the whip-smart and fearless daughter of renowned private detective Henry Scarlet. When her father suddenly dies, Eliza uncovers his considerable debts. With her only option to take over the family business, Eliza must navigate a man's world and face all manner of obstacles, including Victorian conventions conspiring to keep a woman from working as a detective. Watch the trailer for season one below. 

WATCH: Kate Phillips stars in Miss Scarlet and the Duke

Miss Scarlet and The Duke Seasons 1-4 are available to stream on PBS Passport in the US and on NOW TV in the UK.

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